As Canberra's vaccination rates surge ahead, some of its most vulnerable are being left behind.
A person whose father is unable to leave the house due to illness, and is in at-home care, said they have struggled to get him vaccinated since Canberra's Delta outbreak.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity to protect their parents' identity, they detailed a frustrating process which has brought their father no closer to being vaccinated.
"My dad is at home and he's bed-bound. My mum is his 24-hour carer," they said.
"My dad can't leave the house, he's got Parkinson's, which is stage five. So he's not walking, he's also got dementia, and he's got cancer."
"My mum made a decision a couple of years ago to look after him full-time, she didn't want to put him in an aged care facility."
They had looked into getting their father vaccinated prior to Canberra's outbreak but "it was sort of in the too-hard basket".
"And we thought that ... being in Canberra, we were ... safe, and he was safe," they said.
With carers coming in and out to help support their father, and case numbers running up in Canberra's outbreak, the need to vaccinate him was suddenly urgent.
Their parents' GP was unable to assist as they don't administer the vaccine, the person said.
They first reached out to ACT Health a few weeks ago, calling the COVID-19 vaccination line, and were prompted to send an email to a dedicated vaccine address, and for their GP to email a clinical vaccine address.
After a week without a response, they called again and were told to cold-call GPs around Canberra looking for at-home vaccinations.
They didn't take this advice due to time constraints, and when they called again last week were given the phone numbers of three GPs "that supposedly give the vaccine ... through the inreach program."
They contacted Gungahlin Medical Centre, Wattle Street Medical Practice and Gungahlin General Practice, and said they were told two of the three did not provide in-reach services, while the third only provided AstraZeneca.
The person is only considering Pfizer for their parents, both aged in their 70s, due to preexisting health conditions.
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Gungahlin Medical Centre said they do not provide at-home vaccinations and that due to there being medical centres with similar names, referral to them by ACT Health could have been a mix-up.
Gungahlin General Practice said they are also not able to provide the at-home vaccinations, and after at least three inquiries last week had asked ACT Health not to refer patients to them.
Wattle Street Medical also does not provide the at-home service, and had received about two to three inquiries.
Dr Tuan Tran at the centre said that one barrier to doing so for GPs was the 15-minute wait required to monitor a patient who had received a vaccine.
He said this was difficult to manage safely at a place of residence.
The person said they were contacted by the in-reach team on Monday and told at-home vaccines wouldn't be available until after September 16, and that Pfizer may not be available.
They said they won't get their father vaccinated if Pfizer isn't available to him.
"There's no alternative, I feel like I've hit my head against a brick wall a couple of times," the person said of the tedious process to obtain information.
"Vaccination appointments of all kinds are in high demand and appointments are booked at the soonest convenient time and date for each person," an ACT Health spokesperson said in a statement.
"The best option for people who are receiving care at home is to contact their GP in the first instance," an ACT Health spokesperson said in a statement.
"At-home vaccinations are generally only available where it is not possible for someone to access a vaccination through one of the other available services."
They encouraged people to call the booking line 02 5124 7700 and select the number three option for the disability line.
In response to difficulty obtaining information about at-home vaccinations, the ACT Health spokesperson said: "It is not possible to discuss individual cases, however, people who call our booking line should be informed of options that are available to them to access a vaccination."
"In-reach services will be discussed where no other viable vaccination option is available."
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